Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New England Clam Chowder (Page 118)

RECIPE #1100

  • Date: Thursday, February 11, 2010 -- 7pm
  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
  • Kitchen: Emilee and Brian's Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Chris
  • Dining Companions: Emilee, Brian, and Sam
  • Recipe Rating: B-

I chose this recipe as part of the All Seafood All The Time Plan. I started by steaming some littleneck clams and reserving the cooking liquid. I removed the cooked clams from their shells and chopped them. I then strained the cooking liquid through a fine mesh sieve. Chris peeled and diced several boiling potatoes. We melted butter and cooked chopped bacon in it (Yes, bacon cooked in butter!), then added onion and cooked longer. Chris added the potatoes and reserved clam cooking liquid and simmered until the potatoes were tender. He stirred in the chopped clams, half-and-half, and pepper, then heated it. To finish it we seasoned with salt and stirred in some parsley. This clam chowder was ok, but I thought it definitely could have been better. For one thing I found it to be too thin. I expect a chowder to be creamy and substantial, but this had a base of 1 cup of half-and-half and 1 1/2 cups of clam cooking water, which resulted in a pretty watery broth. I also wished that the potatoes weren't cut so small. The Book asked for a 1/4 inch dice, which is pretty tiny. I prefer to have more substantial chunks in my chowder. The flavor was good -- the bacon came through clearly, as did the clams. It was definitely not a bad soup, but it won't be my standby clam chowder recipe either.

The recipe is here.

This is recipe number 1100 that I have made from The Book! I have been steadily plodding along for more than 4 years now, cooking from The Book. These past few weeks it has really begun to seem like the end is in sight. I recently made myself a mini-Book. I photocopied every recipe that I have left to make so I could throw them in my purse when I go places. Before I had my mini-Book it was crazy trying to make grocery lists because it was hard to predict what kinds of seafood would be available on any given day. So I would write down ingredients for a recipe, and a back-up, and a back-up for the back-up. It was ridiculous! Plus, sometimes I would see a hard-to-find ingredient and want to buy it but I woudn't know what else I needed for the recipe. Lugging The Book with me everywhere was an option, but that thing is BIG! Now I have all the recipes with me all the time, in a covenient little packet. No more grocery lists! And when I finish everything on one of my photocopied pages, I just tear it out and my mini-Book gets smaller. It is a VERY satisfying feeling.

I am cooking like crazy lately, and enjoying it a lot! For the first time in a while, I have a nice backlog of recipes waiting to be blogged about. Yes, I am getting a little tired of all the seafood (particularly because I am tired of making so many grocery trips!), but I am feeling a renewed enthusiasm for this project. I think I WILL finish in 2010, and maybe even with a little time to spare! 1100 down, 193 to go!


kingshearte said...

Question for you: I've periodically encountered recipes that tell me to cook bacon in butter, oil, or whatever, and I ignore it every time. Do you think it actually makes any difference, other than adding extra grease for no reason I can see?

Teena said...

I suppose in the case of cooking bacon in butter it adds flavor to use the butter. But I can't see any reason to cook bacon in oil. It seems to me that the bacon flavor would overpower the mild flavor of most oils. And bacon certainly has enough fat that it doesn't need additional fat to cook properly!